What Do I Get Out of Unofficial Visits?

By Sparks Editorial Staff | October 18, 2016

A lot of our junior clients are asking about unofficial visits. You can read my article from earlier this year giving a top-to-bottom rundown of the visits, but this interaction with a client seemed especially relevant with some holidays and big regattas coming up:

Nate: “So, contact the coach, let them know your dates, see what they say; does all that make sense?”

Client: “Sure. I get how to set it up now, but I guess I’m still wondering why I’m doing this. What am I trying to get out of this visit?

Nate: “Fair enough, good question…

You can get all kinds of information on the web or even from emails with coaches. You can find out what kinds of majors there are, what the student body likes doing, how many required courses freshman have to take, how the rowing team has done historically – and all of that is important stuff. Any of those could easily move a school up or down in your personal rankings.

But the unofficial visit is your chance to really get a personal reaction – call it a vibe, intangibles, a gut reaction, whatever you want. You can talk to the coach in person, see practices, and maybe even spend some time with a rower going to class or grabbing a bit to eat.

It’s an opportunity to really judge for yourself ‘Could I see myself here for four years? Would I fit in with the team? Do I like how the coach interacts with the rowers at practice? Do I like how they interact with each other?’”

Client: “Ok cool, I get that. That’d be pretty awesome to get to hear what life’s like directly from the rowers.”

So any time you’re traveling – holidays, big regattas, visiting grandma – take the chance to get your own vibe of a college instead of relying on the words and numbers you can find on the internet.

- Nate Rooks